Saturday, December 14

The Quad: Four easy, healthy snack recipes you could make in your dorm room


Healthy dorm snacks like overnight oats can be customized in a variety of ways, such as with peanut butter, bananas or blueberries. (Tung Lin/Daily Bruin)

Healthy dorm snacks like overnight oats can be customized in a variety of ways, such as with peanut butter, bananas or blueberries. (Tung Lin/Daily Bruin)


This post was updated Nov. 27 at 7:34 p.m.

Bruins don’t need to stash instant ramen and Hot Pockets in their dorms with UCLA’s status as having the best dining hall food in the nation. However, Bruin Plate meals can still feel repetitive after a while.

Two months into fall quarter, I found myself missing not only the comfort of a home-cooked meal but the sense of pride and satisfaction one gets from preparing something for themselves.

With limited “appliances” – a mini fridge, Mason jars and bowls – I knew crafting a culinary masterpiece from my dorm was out of the question.

Thankfully, Bruins can still enjoy making some dorm room snacks with a little creative flair. A quick trip to the grocery store or UCLA Hill Top Shop gives students more options and agency in their diet. Here’s The Quad’s guide to healthy no-bake breakfasts and snacks for days on the go.

#1 Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are perfect as a grab-and-go breakfast or postworkout snack. This recipe emphasizes classic fall flavors, with the addition of cinnamon, apples and honey, but there’s plenty of ways to customize the taste. Some other tasty options involve adding peanut butter and sliced bananas or frozen blueberries and a splash of vanilla extract.

Overnight oats are also an ideal choice because Mason jars often have marked measurements on the side, which means fewer dishes and less hassle.

The fall season in Los Angeles may be accompanied by 90-degree weather, but it hasn’t stopped me from craving pumpkin spice and other holiday flavors. This simple, fun recipe for overnight oats can make even the sunniest days feel a little cozier. I also like to top my oats with chopped pecans and a dash of cinnamon. For this recipe, you can buy honey at the UCLA Hill Top Shop and snag an apple from a dining hall.

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

- ½ cup rolled oats

- ½ cup almond milk

- ¼ cup kefir

- ½ tablespoon of honey

- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon

- ½ red or green apple (cored and diced)

- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients in a 16-ounce Mason jar, then screw on the lid and shake the jar to combine ingredients. Place in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day.

Overnight oats last up to five days in the fridge.

#2 Peanut Butter Protein Bites

These protein bites are a perfect snack for busy college students darting from classes to extracurricular activities. They’re also a little sweet, making them the ideal solution to satisfy your sugar cravings.

Students can customize to their hearts’ content with this recipe as well. Not a fan of chocolate chips? Substitute dried cranberries. Have a peanut allergy? Try a different type of nut or granola butter.

For this recipe, you can buy honey and peanut butter at the UCLA Hill Top Shop. However, this recipe works best with nut butter that naturally separates because it is more effective at making all the ingredients stick together.

Makes 10-15 bites

Ingredients:

- ½ cup peanut butter

- ½ cup rolled oats

- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (optional)

- 1/3 cup ground flaxseed

- 1/3 cup honey

- 1/3 cup coconut flakes

- 1/3 cup nondairy chocolate chips

- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients with your hands in a large bowl until the mixture feels like cookie dough, then place in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow the “dough” to firm up. Roll 1-2 tablespoons of dough into a ball with your hands.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

#3 Almond Butter Banana Quesadillas

This no-bake quesadilla recipe reminds me of the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from my elementary school years.

Like a PB&J, it only takes seconds to make and can be as healthy or decadent as your heart desires. For an indulgent treat, add mini chocolate chips and shredded coconut. For some added texture, try slivered almonds, sprinkle in pomegranate seeds or sub in chunky peanut butter. For this recipe, grab a banana from a dining hall.

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

- 2 tablespoons of almond butter

- 1 whole wheat or grain-free tortilla (I prefer ones made from chickpea flour)

- 5 strawberries (sliced)

- ½ banana (sliced)

- Cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

Warm tortilla in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Spread almond butter across the whole tortilla and place sliced fruits on one half. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, fold in half and enjoy.

#4 Blueberry Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia seed pudding is famous for its thick, rich texture as well as its high fiber and protein content, which makes it a wonderfully filling breakfast or midday snack. If you’re looking for a thicker texture, increase the chia seeds to 4 tablespoons (¼ cup). I like to top my chia pudding with blueberries, coconut flakes and a dash of cinnamon. For this recipe, you can also buy honey at the UCLA Hill Top Shop. You could also attempt to get your blueberries from Bruin Plate, though they’re not easily transportable compared to an apple or banana.

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

- 1 cup coconut milk

- 3 tablespoons of chia seeds (try 4 for a thicker texture)

- ¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

- ½ tablespoon honey (optional)

Instructions:

Blend the blueberries with coconut milk, vanilla and honey. Then, pour the mixture into a 16-ounce Mason jar and add the chia seeds. Screw on the lid and shake to combine ingredients. Place in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day.

Chia pudding lasts up to five days in the fridge but tastes best when eaten within two days of preparation.

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